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Video games for a varsity letter could happen sooner than you think

April 23,2018 18:14

They also come in handy in the world of online gaming, and that arena is bound to grow in high schools across the country. The National Federation of State High School Associations announced Thursday its partnership with online gaming provider PlayVS ...and more »


Manual dexterity, strategic thinking and teamwork equate to success on a variety of athletic fields.
They also come in handy in the world of online gaming, and that arena is bound to grow in high schools across the country.
The National Federation of State High School Associations announced Thursday its partnership with online gaming provider PlayVS to begin the rollout of eSports competition in high schools throughout the nation.
NFHS, the NFHS Network and PlayVS will introduce eSports to high schools and state associations beginning this fall, with an initial rollout in at least 15 states.
"PlayVS' philosophy on high school-based sports and focus on participation perfectly aligns with the NFHS and its member state associations," NFHS Network CEO Mark Koski said. "We looked at many potential eSports partners, and PlayVS was the clear choice thanks, in part, to its overall education-based concept, mission and vision.
"As schools look to provide participation opportunities for high school students, eSports is a great option on two fronts. First, eSports may involve students who haven't been involved in a sport or activity in the past. Second, the costs to implement eSports are minimal compared to starting a traditional sport, which can be extensive with equipment and facilities."
Michigan features an eSports league of 32 teams, ranging from high schools in Southwest Michigan to the Saginaw Bay area. The 2018 season began March 17 and runs until the state championship round May 19-20, in which the state's top 16 teams compete in the two-day event at Lawrence Tech.
League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena game similar to Warcraft, is the official game for Michigan's 2018 eSports season, and contests range from 15 minutes to an hour.
In December, Siena Heights announced eSports as a scholarship sport in its athletics department, with expectations of a roster size of around 18 gamers when the program launches in fall 2018.
In January, Western Michigan University announced a plan to invest at least $250,000 in a gaming facility and include eSports as a club activity.
A 2015 Pew Research Center study found 72 percent of teens and 84 percent of teen boys play video games, and Koski said eSports is a way to engage additional students in after-school activities.
"We believe the NFHS, NFHS Network and PlayVS make a great team to help jump-start eSports activities in high schools across the country," NFHS executive director Bob Gardner said. "With the rollout of this partnership, we anticipate that there will be tremendous initial and growing interest in eSports from students, and we are excited to broadcast these events on the NFHS Network."

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